Chuck Berry – The London Chuck Berry Session (1972)

FrontCover1The London Chuck Berry Sessions is an album of studio recordings and live recordings by Chuck Berry, released by Chess Records in October 1972. Side one of the album consists of studio recordings, engineered by Geoff Calver; side two features three live performances recorded by the Pye Mobile Unit, engineered by Alan Perkins, on February 3, 1972, at the Lanchester Arts Festival in Coventry, England. At the end of the live section, the recording includes the sounds of festival management trying in vain to get the audience to leave so that the next performers, Pink Floyd, can take the stage; the crowd begins chanting “We want Chuck!”

“My Ding-a-Ling”, from the live side of the album, was edited to approximately 4 minutes for release as a single. It was Berry’s first and only single to reach number 1 in both the US and the UK.

In May 1970, Howlin’ Wolf traveled to Olympic Sound Studios in London, England, to record songs for The London Howlin’ Wolf Sessions. The album was released in August 1971[6] and peaked at number 28 on Billboard magazine’s R&B Albums chart and number 79 on the Billboard 200. Because of Wolf’s success, Muddy Waters recorded his own London Sessions album in December 1971, and Berry did the same in 1972.

The album was not even out for a month, when on October 27, 1972, The London Chuck Berry Sessions was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America with sales of 1,000,000 units. It is Berry’s only album to be certified by the RIAA  (by wikipedia)

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One-half of this album is a studio recording featuring Ian McLagan and Kenny Jones of the Faces. The other half is a live recording from the Lancaster Arts Festival in Coventry, England, featuring performances of “My Ding-a-Ling” and “Reelin’ and Rockin'” that, in edited form, became the first hit singles for Chuck Berry in many years. (“My Ding-a-Ling” went gold and hit #1.) This gold-selling, Top Ten album represents Berry’s commercial, if not artistic, peak. (by William Ruhlmann)

But .. on this album we can hear the best version of “Reelin’ And Rockin'” … a male fantasy of omnipotence …

And his version of “My Ding-a-Ling” is another song by Chuck Berry … and his version is very hot:

The lyrics with their sly tone and innuendo (and the enthusiasm of Berry and the audience) caused many radio stations to refuse to play it. British morality campaigner Mary Whitehouse tried unsuccessfully to get the song banned. “One teacher,” Whitehouse wrote to the BBC’s Director General, “told us of how she found a class of small boys with their trousers undone, singing the song and giving it the indecent interpretation which—in spite of all the hullabaloo—is so obvious … We trust you will agree with us that it is no part of the function of the BBC to be the vehicle of songs which stimulate this kind of behaviour—indeed quite the reverse.”

In Icons of Rock, Scott Schinder calls the song “a sophomoric, double-entendre-laden ode to masturbation”. Robert Christgau remarked that the song “permitted a lot of twelve-year-olds new insight into the moribund concept of ‘dirty'”.

Berry refers to the song on the recording as “our alma mater

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Personnel:
Chuck Berry (vocals, guitar)
Derek Griffiths (guitar on 01. – 05.)
Kenney Jones (drums on 01. – 05.)
Dave Kaffinetti (piano on 06. -09.)
Robbie McIntosh (drums on 06. – 09.)
Onnie Owen McIntyre (guitar on 06. – 09.)
Ian McLagan (piano on 06. – 09.)
Nic Potter (bass on 06. – 09.)

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Tracklist:

Side one (studio recordings):
01. Let’s Boogie (Berry) 3.11
02. Mean Old World (Walter) 5.48
03. I Will Not Let You Go (Berry) 2.51
04. London Berry Blues (Berry) 6.00
05. I Love You (Berry) 3.26

Side two (live recordings):
06. Reelin’ And Rockin’ (Berry) 7.07
07. My Ding-a-Ling (Bartholomew) 11.34
08. Johnny B. Goode (& Closing) (Berry) 4.21
+
09. My Ding-a-Ling (single edition) (Bartholomew) 4.22

(This version of “Johnny B. Goode” replaces the first verse of the original with the first verse of “Bye Bye Johnny”.)

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Singles

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